We all know a person we enjoy when they go 4-wheeling with us. And you are not alone in your view. Everyone likes this person’s company.
Have you ever stepped back and asked what is it you appreciate about them? What habits do they exhibit that you would like to adopt?
Here are some of the habits I have identified of highly admired four wheelers. The list is neither exhaustive nor refined. There is plenty of room for you to pull it apart, reorganize it, add to it and come up with a better list.
Can one person exhibit all these habits? I know a few. But we can all strive to do better in each area. Perhaps, the one habit that trumps all the others is number 10 in the list.
- They show up on time and are prepared. They arrive at the appointed time with a vehicle that’s gassed up and ready to go. They don’t make others wait for them. They pack up the night before and budget enough time to get to the trail head. While camping, they get packed up quickly each morning so the group can resume the drive on time.
- They set an example in many ways. Picking up trash is a good example. When they see trash on the ground, they pick it up without a second thought. Often others in the group quickly follow suit. They are willing to share food, equipment, and spares.
- They offer to spot. One of the more crucial tasks of off-road driving is spotting. They take the initiative and help fellow drivers find the proper lines. Other drivers appreciate the gesture.
- They help during breakdowns. Their confidence that it can be solved encourages everyone. They keep their vehicle in good mechanical order by following basic maintenance, and inspecting their vehicle after every outing. Breakdowns can occur off-road; some trails are really punishing. Routine maintenance, like replacing heater hoses and bushings, should be routine.
- They are aware of their surroundings. As they travel through an area, they survey the bigger picture. They familiarize themselves with various terrain features such as mountains, gullies, streams/washouts and other landmarks. Of course, they are focused on driving, but also take in the scenery around you. This helps them find their way should they get off the established route.
- They respect others by keeping music and conversation to tolerable levels at night. They avoiding slamming car doors while others are sleeping, and engaging in other disruptive behaviors.
- They are a coach. They help less-experienced drivers grow in our wonderful hobby by patiently imparting their knowledge. They reach out to newer drivers wherever they find them. They make it a habit of talking up our hobby and encouraging non-members to join along on a simple outing.
- They are safety conscious. Four wheeling can be a dangerous hobby. Certain aspects require concentration and care. Notable among these are winching and recovery. Highly admired 4-wheelers always take these tasks seriously; they don’t rush; and they make sure everyone else proceeds safely.
- They are neat. They keep their vehicle and campsite tidy. They dispose of trash and waste properly. They know being tidy is practical: It’s easier to find stuff when it’s put away properly. Have you ever tried to find your gear left outside after a snow storm?
- Overall highly respected 4-wheelers maintain a positive mental attitude despite the challenges presented. They don’t whine. They enjoy the moment and embrace the challenges.
Because four wheeling is often a team activity, it’s important that all drivers take on a team mentality. Doing so helps ensure a smoother outing, and enhances the reputation of those who participate with the proper attitude.